Brave: Recommend

This past week I saw Brave, the newest installment to the Pixar legacy. Along with many other people in this nation and world, I am a huge fan of these animated films. Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and UP, are some of my favorite animated movies of all times. The animation, the voices, the soundtrack, the story, and the messages, all add up to movies incredibly enjoyable for both kids and adults alike. Pixar has become one of the great success stories of our time, and they seem not to be able to fail.

Brave follows suit, and is another very entertaining movie. Visually it is beautiful, the 3D is awesome, the accents and soundtrack and very fun. The story line is great for kids, and it really shines a powerful light on women, mothers, and daughters. There are two women in this movie, and they are the most powerful characters in the story. This movie took some turns that I did not expect, and kept me attention throughout. The one category where Brave falls short is appealing to children and adults alike. This movie is a kids movie. The jokes are silly, the characters are goofy, the story line speaks to the relationship between children and parents, and the overall feeling of the movie was childish. All of the previous movies had enough adult humor to keep an older crown entertained.

I did enjoy this movie, and I do recommend to your children, young cousins, friends, and you, just be in a silly mood. I appreciate the light shined on women, and the fact that it is aimed at children. All in all, Pixar did it again.

Prometheus: Recommend

As I switch back between a very exciting finish to the US Open, and game 3 of the NBA Finals, I’m pulling for McDowell, and OKC.  I contemplate the picture I saw earlier this week. Prometheus.

One of the most intense trailers I have ever seen led to a lot of hype and anticipation for this movie. Ridley Scott’s newest movie takes us to another world searching for answers of our origin. Now I have never seen it, but supposedly this is the prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, Alien. Regardless, the entire movie was very intriguing. Visually, very stimulating, some parts looked like a video game, which I enjoyed. The acting was fine. The effects were great. Everything was good. Except, the story line took some very unexpected turns. I enjoy a good twist as much as the next guy, but these twists were good or bad, there were just…weird. Some parts were very intense, some were scary, others confusing, but the best part of the movie, in my opinion was the trailer.

The movie was entertaining and captivating the entire way through. It was weird, and frustrating at times, but I thought it ended on a great note, and I was happy I saw it. If you are an Alien fan this is a must see, but for everyone else, its just a recommend.

Right now I am about to watch McDowell putt for a playoff hole tomorrow! C’Mon……NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Good for Wes Simpson.

Enjoy your Monday.

Sport Update Intermission

Image

Since our Wednesday Sports guy has taken a bit of timeout, I have taken it upon myself to talk about a historic event that took place just this morning.

Now most of you that know me, know that I am passionate about tennis. If you dig a little deeper, not too much, you will find that my favorite player is Rafael Nadal. As of this morning Rafa won his 7th French Open title! This is an unprecedented number, and breaks Bjorn Bjorg’s record of the most French Open’s won by a single man.

For those of you who do not know the sport of tennis that well, the French Open is one of the 4 big tournaments of the year, called a Grand Slam. The other three are, Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, and The Australian Open. Wimbledon is played in London on a court of grass, it starts in two weeks. The U.S. Open is played in New York, New York, on hard court (most courts you see around your neighborhood) in September. The Australian Open is played in Sydney, on a plexiglass/hard court combo, in January. The French Open that just finished, is played in Paris, and on a court of orange clay. These are the four big tournaments of the year, all on different surfaces that play differently, and all in different weather conditions. Making tennis one of, if not the most, toughest sport in the world, but that argument is for another Monday.

Anyways, today Rafa beat his recent rival Novak Djokovic, in a rainy and honestly anti – climatic finish. In January, these two players battled for 6 hours, I repeat 6 STRIAGHT HOURS, at the final of the Australian Open. In what other sport are you hitting a ball as hard as you can, and giving everything you have to beat the guy on the other side for 6 hours?! Djokovic prevailed in the end, and I was heart broken. It was an incredible display from both men. That final marked the third Grand Slam Final in a row that Novak beat Rafa. Making today’s triumph that much sweeter. But following up that match was pretty impossible.  I hate Djokovic, but I am not going to deny that he is an unbelievable tennis player. The physicality of beating Djokovic, Nadal already possessed, but overcoming his past defeats to Novak, and today’s pressure, mentally, was a different task entirely. Spanning over two weeks, with a final that took two days (rain delays), and four sets, Rafa finally held up that trophy.

Rafa now has 11 majors, and his biggest tasks of the year are yet to come. We have Wimbledon starting in two weeks. Last year Djokovic beat Rafa in that final, and after today’s match I believe Rafa has his “Mojo” back.

Battleship: Not Recommended

Image

“You sunk my…hopes that Hollywood could take unorthodox plot and turn it into a good summer blockbuster”. Battleship contained all the ingredients for a entertaining blockbuster…Aliens, Battles, Good looking humans, Sexual tension, good..eh, make that decent actors, and a foundation that should have drawn in all players of the board game. But even with all that Battleship may be the worst movie I have seen this year. The acting was terrible, the holes in the plot were larger then the gap in Strahan’s teeth, the action was subpar, and the plot was insanely stupid. My buddy and I gave up a quarter of the way through the movie and starting just laughing at everything because it was so stupid. I felt like I needed to be 10 years younger to enjoy the movie, but if I was 10 years younger, then I would not have felt the significance of the title and certain references in the movie.

If not for the battleship electronic board in the movie, and the respect they showed WWII and Korean Vets, I may half walked out. I actually considered it multiple times, but I like to give every movie its fair chance, and I was afraid I would be seen coming out of that movie, when other people were going into Avengers or something. All in all this is a do not see, not worth the trip to the theater, not worth the movie, even if you got in for free, it is not worth the time. Somebody should have tied a building to the battleship script and as they watched in sink said “I saved the game battleship”!

But I did stick to my word, and gave it a chance, and I will continue to do so, because like I said every now and then you will be pleasantly surprised.

John Carter – Recommend

Image

The summer is upon us and with that comes the summer blockbusters. As I said last week (The Avengers: Highly Recommend), and past weeks (Wrath of the Titans: Not Recommended), I am a fan of these extreme budget, over the top, pure entertainment flicks. In the end my preferred genre is Drama, but action pack cinema, created especially for the big screen is something that I very much appreciate. However, even with this understanding of the point of these movies, I still find myself sticking my nose up at many of these summer blockbusters. And more often than not, I am humbly reminded of how never to judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a movie by its trailer. This week I watched Disney’s John Carter, and by the rant above, I’m sure you figured out that I found it to be significantly better than once thought.

I saw the trailer awhile ago, and along with the people I was with, said “that looks dumb”. Naturally, I did not make a trip to the theaters when it was out, and today I find myself regretting that decision. I watched John Carter on my computer, and found it to be extremely entertaining, fun, and worth watching. The acting was great, with some big names, and recognizable faces. The effects were good, considering they had to create a new landscape, creatures, and civilizations, seeing as it takes place on Mars. The foundation of the story line has been done before, but the twists to it give it a very engaging plot. All in all, it is a fun movie, that is good for kids and adults alike, and with some fun shocks John Carter gets a recommend.

As I mentioned above, I watched this movie on my computer this week. I now very much wish I had seen it in theaters. 3D and a movie theater size screen would have really made this movie pop (literally and figuratively). Recently I found myself having similar doubtful feelings about another trailer I saw…Battleship. I laughed when I saw the name of this movie, I could not believe they created a movie off of this old board game. Well, I’m here to say that I will be seeing battleship, and I am going to see it in theaters. And although it will be hard, I even pledge to stay in the theater if after a serious battle scene, I hear the words “You sunk my battleship!”

The Avengers: Highly Recommend!

Image

After a couple of weeks of non stop action and with a possibly skydiving trip in store for next weekend, it is time to return to the sweet addiction of movies. You guessed it: The Avengers!

As you may have guessed, I along with most of the rest of the country, although I don’t expect most saw it twice as I did, saw The Avengers last week. This movie has been dreamed about by fans ever since the first Iron Man teased us with a short clip after the credits. Needless to say the hype surrounding this movie has been building since 2008. A movie to have such high expectations and to do what no other movie has dared to do, and to deliver is a rare thing in this cold cruel world. I could and have talked about this movie for hours, and it would be only positive. The action, the special effects, the comedy, the acting, the sequences, the story line etc etc… all blew me away. First of all it was unbelievably funny. I did not expect it to be so funny. One liner after one liner brought the packed theater down. Hilarious. The acting was great, no Oscars, but perfect for what it was, I believe Tom Hiddleston (Loki) stole the show. He played a sly, yet powerful villain brilliantly. The action was also unmatched. In no movie has there ever been such a fight scene, where the camera is just going from hero to hero kicking ass in their own way. And then all of a sudden two or three of them would find themselves together, and we have the blessing to have the best seat in the house to watch.

The movie had a lot to cover, with the assembling of the team, to working out the kinks, to trying to prevent the evil plan, to finally stopping it (no surprise there). With a 2 ½ hour running time, the movie covers all that and more with liquid gold like fluidity. I realize that it is early in the summer and we still have Dark Knight to come, but I am going to say that it will be the most fun you have in a theater all summer and maybe so far in your life. Dark Knight will be great, but it’s a dark movie, where as Avengers was colorful and light. Super hero fan or not, this is a must see movie, and a must see in the theaters. Don’t wait to watch it on your small tv, while sitting alone sinking lower and lower into your ass imprinted couch. Go to the theaters, feel the full theater laugh and hold their breath with you. Enjoy the Experience of a Great Summer BlockBuster and Live, Fight, Laugh, and Die(?) with The Avengers!

Tough Mudder and Half Marathon

Image

Me, immediately after the finish line

Image

My Team

Here I am sitting on my bed after completing the half marathon earlier this morning. I did it in an hour and 48 minutes, and it wasn’t easy. The great amount of respect I had for full marathoners before this race, only doubled when I hit the finish line and realized I had only completed half of what a real marathoner does. My legs hurt, my feet hurt, I am tired, and again I only did half. Much respect to the full marathoners.

As for the race, it was an incredibly experience, that I will not soon forget. 25,000 people took to the streets of Pittsburgh today, with an estimated 70,000 fans lining the route, all made for an indescribable atmosphere. Whenever my legs were beginning to fail, the fans on the sidelines always picked me up and kept me going. The day was hot, the road was long, but I feel good, and am ready for my next challenge.

Speaking of a different challenge, last week my team and I completed the Tough Mudder. A 12 mile obstacle course filled with over 20 obstacles (listed below), all in the mud, and all in the cold. Now this was one of the most extraordinary physical things I have ever done in my life. I think it ranks right below sky diving in amazing experiences of my life.

The beginning we had an amazing guy pump us up with the national anthem, some speeches, a moment of silence and a little Eminem. It was electrifying; everyone was in this little carrel, jumping up and down getting pumped up. And before we knew it, we were off. The rest of the day is a blur of running, jumping, diving, running, climbing, crawling, running, swinging, and being tazered. During the race the comradory and team effort, with not only just my team, but with everyone on the course was inspiring. Anytime, you fell or were struggling, a random stranger would be there to pick you up physically and mentally. We are a great people when we need to be. It is really amazing what the body can do, because after I was done, I just shut down, and my body was allowed itself to feel what it was actually feeling, if that makes sense. I have never been so cold or stiff in my life.

I wish I could explain the atmosphere and the experience better in words, alas, I can barely keep my eyes open after today’s adventure. So enjoy your Monday

List of Obstacles

1) Army Crawl under barb wire in the mud

2) Jump into a bath of below freezing water (put chemicals in so it is below freezing but does not freeze)

3) Large Hill in the mud

4) Two 10 feet walls to climb over

5) Crawl in a pitch black tunnel underground  in the mud

6) Fun through smoke and fire

7) Crawl under a cargo net

8) Carry a log for half a mile

9) Climb a cargo net

10) 20 foot jump from a dock into a freezing pond

11) Another crawl under barb wire

12) Run and jump up a half pipe (picture)

13) Crawl in water under live electric wires

14) Climb two 12 foot walls

15) Monkey Bars

16) Trudge through 6 huge mud and water trenches

17) Climb through dark tubes in the water

18) 6 Olympic Rings

19) 20 foot balancing beam over water

20) Run through live wires

all over 12.2 miles